Vigil Games Combat Designer Says Adieu
THQ's property auction has ended and with it comes the news of its properties being split and who their new owners are. THQ sent out this letter to its employees explaining the state of things:
"To All THQ Employees:
We now have the answers we've been seeking through our financial restructuring and Chapter 11 case. While much will be written, here are the facts of the bids and auction that occurred:
Yesterday morning, we received a competing bid for the operating business, along with Clearlake's offer, and numerous offers for separate assets.
During an auction process that lasted over 22 hours, the final conclusion was that the separate-asset bids would net more than a single buyer for the majority of the company.
Shortly, we will, present the results to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which must concur with our assessment.
The proposed sales of multiple assets is as follows :
Sega agreed to purchase Relic
Koch Media agreed to purchase Volition and Metro
Crytek agreed to purchase Homefront
Take 2 agreed purchase Evolve and
Ubisoft agreed to purchase Montreal and South Park
We expect these sales to close this week.
Some assets, including our publishing businesses and Vigil, along with some other
intellectual properties are not included in the sale agreements. They will remain part of
the Chapter 11 case. We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible."
Significantly, Vigil Games, creators of Darksiders, does not have a buyer. Having the end in sight, Ben Cureton, lead combat designer, has resigned. He penned this letter to reflect on the sad state of affairs and say his goodbyes:
"My name is Ben Cureton, and I was the Lead Combat Designer at Vigil Games. I'm sitting at my desk among... what appears to be a warzone. The walls look bare. It's quiet.
The seats are empty.
We've all been on edge for the past couple months... and more so, the last couple weeks. I mean, I'm sure you can imagine what it's like to wonder if you will have a job tomorrow. Most of us here joked about it just to keep the mood light, but we all knew what could happen. Now I look around and I realize... it did happen.
Am I sad? Well yea. I've been in this industry for 20 years. Seriously. Two decades. I've been laid off more than once. It sucks every time. But am I sad I don't have a job? Not really... I'm sure I'll get another one eventually. I'm sad because it won't be THIS job. It won't be at Vigil. That's why I'm sad. The people I waged war with are no longer together. The people that I bled with, vented with, argued with (often times LOUDLY), and kicked back with... these people will never be together again in the same combination.
Not that it was perfect. But what is perfect? Did I like coming to work? Yes. Was I proud of the work that I did? Yes. More importantly, was I proud of the work that WE did? Absolutely. I knew, without a shadow of the doubt, that the project we were working on (Codenamed: Crawler) was going to blow people away. In fact, it DID blow people away. We did, in TWO months, what many companies haven't done in a year. The pride of knowing that no one was doing anything like us was so satisfying, it kept us coming to work and giving 100% every single day, even through the dark times.
... so maybe you can imagine what it feels like when you read the list of who bought what only to discover your name is not on the list. Why? Did we do something wrong? Were we not good enough? Were we not worth 'anything?' Imagine that.
Vigil was filled with people that I would put up against the best in the industry. People that made my work better, people that made me a better designer, and people that made me a better person. And now they are gone.
Their seats are empty.
It's OK, though. I guess this post makes it sound a bit melodramatic. Seriously... if you work in the video game industry you have to be resilient. Doing what you love often comes with a price - anyone who has been around for a while can tell you that. Today, that price has been paid. That being said, I'd still never dissuade anyone from following their dreams if their dream is to make video games. While it's not as romantic as it sounds, it's sure a hell of a lot of fun.
So don't cry for the people at Vigil. We made games for game players. I have no Horror stories from working here... only Honor stories. Through both praise and critiques alike, our goal was always to make a product as if we, ourselves, were the end-user. We may have gotten pushed and pulled in certain directions by forces out of our control, we were always in it to make games for game players. And that's what we did.
I can only hope that those spared from the other companies remain employed long into the future. There is not much worse than false hope, and these people deserve to continue making great games. You may not know their names, but they exist, and they bleed, sweat, and cry for your entertainment. I mean that honestly, with no negativity. They do it... no, WE do it... because we want you to have a good time.
In closing, I can only say thank you to the fans of Vigil games. Your support means more than you can imagine. Your feedback (both positive and negative) gave us long-lasting insight that we will all take with us, wherever we may go. You are the reason we made Darksiders 1 &2... and you are the reason we will continue to make games.
And with that... my seat is empty.
Lead Combat Designer
P.S. This is no place for a horse."
Ending on a humorous note, it seems that Ben, no matter his disappointment with the outcome remains optimistic. A good thing too, as some possible good news has come of it as well. This twitter conversation reveals that there might just be a position for Ben at PLATINUM GAMES. You know, just those guys who make those brilliant action games, and who are soon to be releasing the new Metal Gear Rising. Keep your head up Ben, hopefully we'll be seeing more from you soon.